February 21, 2018

President Trump and the GOP have been riding an approval rating wave ever since they passed their tax overhaul legislation in December, but a new poll released Wednesday appears to indicate that it won't be smooth sailing from here on out. Just 25 percent of voters say they have seen an increase in their paychecks since the legislation passed, a new Politico/Morning Consult poll found, while 51 percent say they've noticed nothing.

Even Republican voters aren't reporting a noticeable increase in their paychecks, with 43 percent saying any potential change has gone unobserved. Republicans do note changes more than the voter pool overall, though, at 32 percent.

"Our polling shows high-income earners are more likely to have noticed an increase in their paychecks as a result of the tax bill," said Morning Consult's chief research officer, Kyle Dropp. "For example, 40 percent of voters who earn more than $100,000 said they have noticed a pay increase in the past several weeks. In contrast, 33 percent of voters who earn between $50,000 and $100,000 and 16 percent of voters who earn under $50,000 said the same."

Overall, 45 percent of voters approve of the tax plan while 35 percent oppose it. The poll reached 1,989 registered voters between Feb. 15 and 19, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 points. Read the full results here. Jeva Lange

January 29, 2018
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ExxonMobil announced Monday that it plans to invest $50 billion in the United States in the next five years, citing President Trump's tax plan, CNBC reports. "[W]e will be investing billions of dollars to increase oil production in the Permian Basin in West Texas and New Mexico, expand existing operations, improve infrastructure, and build new manufacturing sites," wrote CEO Darren Woods in a statement. "This will create thousands of jobs, strengthen the U.S. economy, and enhance energy security."

Exxon's announcement is the latest in a slew of them, stemming from the approval of the tax legislation last year. Apple announced earlier this month that it will bring back "the vast majority of the $252 billion in cash that it held abroad and said it would make a sizable investment in the United States," The New York Times reports. Other companies, including Comcast and Boeing, announced bonuses for employees after the legislation passed.

"The recent changes to the U.S. corporate tax rate coupled with smarter regulation create an environment for future capital investments and will further enhance ExxonMobil's competitiveness around the world," added Woods. "We're actively evaluating the impact of the lower tax rate on the economics of several other projects currently in the planning stages to further expand our facilities along the Gulf Coast."

It is unclear from the announcement if "the $50 billion included a $20 billion investment in Gulf Coast manufacturing over a 10-year period, which Exxon announced in March," CNBC notes. Jeva Lange

December 29, 2017
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The Republican tax overhaul will leave Goldman Sachs an estimated $5 billion shorter in profits in its final quarter of this year, CNN Money reports. While that is partially due to changes to tax credits, which will be worth significantly less next year under the new rules, most of the hit comes from the "repatriation tax," which involves money returned to America from overseas.

"U.S. companies had found ways to legally park money overseas to avoid the higher U.S. corporate tax," The Associated Press explains. "It has been expected that changes in the law would prompt some of those companies to return money to the U.S., potentially $2.5 trillion or more," although "historically, repatriated profits have not had a broad effect on the U.S. economy."

Amgen, a biopharmaceutical company, expects tax expenses as high as $6.5 billion due primarily to the repatriation tax, Reuters reports. Separately, European banks expect one-off losses between $1 billion and $3 billion each. Jeva Lange

December 21, 2017

Ivanka Trump revealed she is a little fuzzy on the details of the Republican tax overhaul, telling the hosts of Fox & Friends on Thursday that she is looking forward to "doing a lot of traveling in April when people realize the effect this has" and claiming that "the vast majority" of taxpayers will be filing "on a single postcard."

On her first point, Trump isn't necessarily wrong to think that some people will be realizing the "effect" of the bill by April 2018. "When you file your 2017 taxes in April, you'll already be getting some benefits like lower tax withholding," Fortune writes, although "other perks won't show until you file your tax return in April 2019."

But while filing taxes via postcard has long been a White House talking point, it isn't likely to happen in actuality:

Tax experts say it's unlikely [taxpayers will file via postcard], and point out that America already has a one-page tax form.

The 1040EZ return allows single and joint filers without dependents to file their taxes as long as they aren't taking most tax credits and don't have more than $100,000 in taxable income.

"You can file with the EZ form, but it's probably not in your best interest," Mark Steber, chief tax officer at Jackson Hewitt Tax Service, a tax preparatory company, told NBC News. "I do not envision a scenario where our society is so simple and so standardized that ... 100 million plus Americans will pay a fair amount of tax and be equitably treated with nine lines." [NBC News]

Watch Trump's comments below. Jeva Lange

December 19, 2017

Twelve House Republicans broke with their party to vote with the Democrats against the tax overhaul plan on Tuesday. The plan nevertheless passed 227-203.

In opposition were Republican Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (Calif.), Darrell Issa (Calif.), Walter Jones (N.C.), Frank LoBiondo (N.J.), Christopher Smith (N.J.), Leonard Lance (N.J.), Rodney Frelinghuysen (N.J.), Lee Zeldin (N.Y.), Peter King (NY.), Dan Donovan (N.Y.), John Faso (N.Y.), and Elise Stefanik (N.Y.).

With one exception — Jones — all the dissenting Republicans are from high-tax states. The GOP reform is expected to hit those states the hardest because "the change to the state and local tax deduction would reduce disposable income for many taxpayers, likely outweighing the positive effect of lower federal rates on consumption in many communities and states," Nick Samuels, a vice president at Moody's Investor Service, explained to CNBC.

Additionally, almost all of the "no" voting GOP lawmakers are targets for the Democrats in 2018 because they serve in districts with razor-thin Republican preferences, per the Cook Partisan Voting Index:

Jones sits comfortably with his district performing an average of 12 points more Republican than the nation as a whole, but Issa and LoBiondo have just a sliver of a lean at plus-one percent.

What explains Jones' odd-man-out vote, then? The projected $1.46 trillion that is expected to be added to the deficit over the next decade. "I'm all for tax reform, but it must grow the economy, not the debt," he argued after the House's initial vote in November. Jeva Lange

December 19, 2017

The House and Senate are expected to vote Tuesday on the GOP tax overhaul, with both chambers likely to pass the legislation. But with just hours to go before the votes are cast, some Republicans are still fuzzy on the exact details of their own bill, which is being rushed to President Trump's desk for a signature before Christmas:

The Huffington Post's Matt Fuller recorded his attempt to find any Republican congressman who could name the tax brackets in the bill:

A few lawmakers later ... still nothing:

Then, at long last, a winner:

Here's the correct answer to Fuller's question: There will still be seven personal income brackets, but they are rearranged to 10, 12, 22, 24, 32, 35, and 37 percent. The current top tax bracket is 39.6 percent. Study up on the full details of the Republicans' bill at The Associated Press. Jeva Lange

December 15, 2017
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Republicans made last-minute changes to their tax overhaul legislation Friday to win over holdouts like Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), CNBC News reports. Rubio told reporters Thursday he wouldn't support the legislation unless it increases the refundable portion of the child tax credit.

Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) confirmed the party will increase the refundable portion to $1,400, up from $1,100. "I believe that we're in a good spot and we should be able to earn his support," Noem said.

A spokesperson for Rubio's office said they hadn't seen the update, "and until we see if the percentage of the refundable credit is significantly higher, then our position remains the same." The GOP can only afford to lose two votes in the Senate. Jeva Lange

December 12, 2017
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The Senate hopes to vote on a negotiated final version of the Republican tax plan early next week, with the House voting no later than Wednesday and the whole package landing on President Trump's desk by a Dec. 20 deadline. But the progress of reaching an agreement between the chambers is slow going, and Republicans are acutely aware that the clock is ticking. "I don't think you can say at this point anything is really nailed down," Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) confessed to Politico on Monday.

There are a number of thorny issues left to resolve, and the Senate is operating with strict budget rules. The corporate tax rate stands out as one topic of major debate, with the chambers agreeing to a lower 20 percent rate, but the Senate has suggested delaying the rate until 2019. A higher rate, such as 21 or 22 percent, is also being discussed to generate around $200 billion to offset the cost of other provisions. Questions about individual income brackets and state and local tax write-offs also have yet to be fully resolved.

Complicating matters is the looming end-of-the-year deadline, even as some Republicans "take a second look, making sure the final product is one Republicans can support," the Los Angeles Times writes. As Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) put it to the paper: "The desperation is palpable."

Thune indicated there is still a long road ahead. "Nothing really" has been resolved, he admitted to Politico. Read more about the differences between the House and Senate bills at The Week. Jeva Lange

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